John & Alison
Long Live Love!
One of the difficulties of living abroad for a few years was being so far from family. That big pond in between us made going home frequently, especially during the holidays, nearly impossible. We were so fortunate to have dear friends celebrate and live life alongside us during those years. One couple in particular, John and Alison, became like second parents to me. It was the small things, like kind notes, affectionate hugs, watching them serve others, rides to and fro, and a mutual love for their (grown) children that endeared them to me.
Seeing the love they had for each other, their family, and even me and my husband was so precious. Anyone who knows John and Alison, knows that they are two people who give of themselves, serve unabashedly, and love generously. You can’t imagine the joy it brings me to share with you today, the words and wisdom of this lovely couple.
Alison, can you tell me where you and John first met?
We had both known of each other for many years through our connection with Crusaders (a national non-church based Christian youth organization). We finally got together through my sister. My brother-in-law, a crusader leader, was giving John driving lessons and when I used to visit my sister he would practice his driving skills by dropping me home with my brother-in-law. I don’t remember him actually asking me out, I think he just invited himself round for tea after work one day!!!
So after John invited himself to dinner (that is too funny!), when did you two get married?!
We were married at 2pm on Saturday October 12th, 1985 in Guildford surrey.
What are your favorite memories from your wedding day?
My favorite memories of the day were seeing John’s smiling face waiting for me at the altar, looking so proud he could have burst! Also, driving away together after the reception knowing we were starting a new life together which was especially important for me having spent the last few years being unsettled.
What one piece of advice or wisdom do you have for young couples who are newly married?
Love your partner as they are; don’t insist everything is done perfectly. Do simple things for each other so they feel loved. Bringing them a cup of tea in bed every morning is just as good as an expensive present (something my husband still does for me after 29 years!). Share your finances and be open about them. Find a loving church to support you, especially if you are away from friends and family. Plan your lifestyle so that you can survive on one salary if necessary so that one of you can stay at home with children in the first years of life. This is such a special time which I would not have changed for the world. I wanted to be the one to instill attitudes in my children, why should I leave this for someone else to do?
What are some of the most romantic or sweet gestures that John has done for you?
When we were going out he made me a necklace with a wooden letter A that he made using his friends lathe. Also, patiently waiting for long periods of time in the car park (that’s a parking lot for my American friends!) for me to come out of work. He booked a surprise stay in the Grand Hotel in Brighton for my 50th birthday and arranged for my sister to join us for a dinner out at my favorite restaurant from when I was a student there.
That is such a thoughtful birthday surprise! When you look back, what is one thing you wish you would have known those first few years of marriage?
One thing I would say is the importance of saving for the future, especially for your children’s future. I wish I had been more organized at putting money away for them. There is always a pressure on finances when you are married, but even a small amount each month can be very beneficial for them once they are looking to set off on their own.
What do you feel has been the secret to your marriage?
I don’t think there are any secrets to a happy marriage as everyone is different and you have to learn together along the way. Saying that, be friends with each other and give each other space to do what they enjoy. I have always felt loved and cared for by my husband and that has given me the confidence to do things I would never have been able to do. Sharing the same faith values is vital as we seek the same things from our marriage and guidance from God in all parts of our lives and service for him.
Oh man, I love the part about John looking so proud he could burst! And you know what, the beautiful part is that he didn’t stop looking at his bride like that. I have frequently seen that same proud smile light up John’s face as Alison walks in the room. Doesn’t that just make your heart melt?!
John and Alison are one of those couples that never want to be in the spotlight (so I especially thank them for sharing their story with me!), but love to serve alongside each other behind the scenes. I am so thankful for not only the love they have for each other, but how they share that love with everyone they meet.
Do you know any heroes of love you would like to see featured on Long Live Love? If so, pop me an email and fill me in! I would love to hear from you!